Winter is upon us and that means freezing temperatures, snow, and icy conditions. It’s amazing that the first thing we think of when winter arrives is our cars. We make sure the tires are properly inflated for the cold, we check the anti-freeze/oil/battery to make sure they are up to speed. Perhaps, we even bring the car into a mechanic to have it “winterized” to prep for the frigid season. But, what about taking the time to winterize our feet? We believe it’s far greater to give the proper care and attention to our body when winter comes around, especially our feet!
Winterize Your Feet
Caring For Cracks
Feet have been the main transportation since the cavemen. Feet must be prepared for extreme climate changes, just like our vehicles. Equally important, we need to inspect our feet daily during winter, especially if we have been exposed to freezing temperatures. For the same reason that pot holes develop in the street, cracks in our feet can happen due to moisture (sweat) and cold weather. You should always make sure any cracks in your feet are being taken care of during cold temperatures. Apply thick lotion to these areas daily. If advised by your podiatrist, you may apply a small amount of antibiotic cream twice a week.
Another part of “winterizing” your feet is making sure your shoes still fit properly, have no holes in them and are waterproof (if in a climate that will bring snow). If needed, invest in a new pair of boots. Socks should be made of a combination of polyester/cotton/wool materials. This combination of material will keep your feet dry and warm through the season.
Sometimes a dreaded problem that can happen when we are out in freezing temperatures is frostbite. If left untreated, frostbite can cause you to lose your toes, feet or even your legs and it should be taken seriously.
Here are some tips for recognizing and treating frostbite. The initial symptom is you not feeling your toes. This is when you should begin care. The first thing to do with a frostbite is to warm the frozen skin, carefully.
WebMD explains that the frostbitten area should not be warmed until it can be kept completely warm. Exposed tissue that refreezes may suffer worse damage than the initial frostbite. If possible, the victim should not walk on frostbitten toes or feet.
Gently and gradually warm the area in warm, not hot, water, or with wet heat until skin color appears red and warm. If there is no water, breathe on the area. Do not rub the skin, break blisters, or use direct heat sources such as heating pads, radiators or fires.
According to the Mayo Clinic, hospitals treat frostbite comprehensively because severe symptoms may not appear for a few days. Frozen skin is rapidly rewarmed with water for 15 to 30 minutes (the water’s temperature is between 104 and 107.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Health professionals may remove white blisters and treat them with antibiotic cream or petroleum jelly.
Common sense should prevail in extreme weather. If too cold, too icy, too snowey…stay home unless you have “winterized” your feet. The risk of falling on the ice/snow, developing frostbite or developing cracks in your feet are greater during the winter months and you should always keep this in mind. Also, please watch out for your pets, as they can develop the same problems.
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